Lake Turkana Wind Power officials check a mast that measures wind direction and speed at a study site in Loiyangalani, near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, in 2012. [AFP/GETTY IMAGES]
The Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) has approved a $250 million loan for a 300 megawatt power plant in northern Kenya.
Funding agreements for the $870 million Lake Turkana Wind Power project (LTWP) were signed in March 2014. The board of OPIC, an agency of the U.S. government, approved the $250 million loan for development, construction, commissioning and operation of the wind farm in May 2014.
Norway-based DNV GL is providing the Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. (KETRACO) technical expertise to build 426 kilometers of overhead cables to transfer 300 megawatts from the LTWP plant. The transmission line is expected to cost $191.5 million.
“Our wind farm construction can start after KETRACO’s transmission line has begun,” project Chairman Carlo Van Wageningen said.
He said the first 50 megawatts of the LTWP project will be online 27 months after construction has begun, and the entire wind farm will be operational after 32 months.
DNV GL Chief Executive David Walker said electricity generated at the plant will be fed into the national grid at Suswa. “The 400-kilovolt transmission line will be an important part of the country’s electricity generation infrastructure, allowing 300 megawatts of LTWP and planned future geothermal plants to deliver low-cost renewable power,” he said.
The plant has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Kenya Power, the electricity distributor.